Bonny Eagle High School’s Autumn Brady, left, tries to get around St. Dominic Academy’s Caroline Gastonguay during their game in Lewiston on Saturday.

Bonny Eagle High School’s Autumn Brady, left, tries to get around St. Dominic Academy’s Caroline Gastonguay during their game in Lewiston on Saturday.

The competition got stiffer for the St. Dominic Academy girls’ lacrosse team this season.

Caroline Gastonguay’s game only got stronger in response.

The St. Dom’s junior was a marked woman, but she still was on the mark game after game for the Saints, to the tune of 81 goals and 24 assists in 14 games.

“Our whole team works as a unit, and everybody has a specific job on the team,” Saints coach Leslie Klenk said. “Caroline’s job is to coordinate the offense. Her ability to get balls to other people and receive passes and score on our opponent is integral to our success. I think based on her statistics this year, I think she did that for us, and I think that was one of the real reasons for our success this year.”

The record shows that the Saints were five games worse in 2017 than they were in 2016, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. St. Dom’s moved to the Western Maine Conference this season, facing many schools that have powerhouse lacrosse programs. To finish 7-5 in their first foray in the WMC after going 12-0 during the 2016 regular season is nothing to look down on.

“This year the competition was a lot harder, which prepared us more for playoffs,” Gastonguay, the Sun Journal’s All-Region girls’ lacrosse player of the year for the second consecutive year, said. “It was good. I liked it a lot.”

“The WMC teams are a lot more aggressive, and overall a lot stronger in every position on the field,” Klenk said.

That meant they were stronger at defending an opponent’s best players, including Gastonguay.

“I definitely felt (targeted) sometimes, like with faceguarding and stuff like that, but then my teammates would set picks for me, and I would set picks for them and then cut,” Gastonguay said. “So it didn’t really stress me out because I knew my teammates had my back, and it wouldn’t be a problem for us.”

Klenk said a lot of practice time was spent on learning to set picks, set up back-door cuts and just learning how to counter against faceguarding. That work paid off for Gastonguay and the Saints, who looked up to the task against the WMC powers.

“Even the games we lost, most of them were very close, so we knew that we could hang with the harder teams in the conference,” Gastonguay said.

Individually, Gastonguay hit personal milestones with her 100th career goal on May 5 against North Yarmouth Academy, then her 150th in a regional semifinal loss to Yarmouth. It was the second year in a row the Saints lost to the Clippers, who lost in the state final both years.

Gastonguay called the milestones “awesome,” but “personally I don’t focus on how many goals I get, I just want the team to be successful.”

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First team

Pos. Name School Class

M Caroline Gastonguay St. Dom’s Jr.

M Morgan Eliasen Lewiston Sr.

M Sasha Leclair Lewiston Sr.

G Mariah Vaillancourt Edward Little Sr.

M Kaylee Jipson Edward Little Sr.

M Christine Chasse Lewiston So.

M Megan Steele Edward Little So.

A Madison Leslie St. Dom’s Jr.

A Hannah Hartnett Oxford Hills Sr.

A Erin Lachance Lewiston So.

Second team

Pos. Name School Class

G CeCe Racine Lewiston Fr.

A Dacia Bail Lewiston Sr.

M Gabby Wilson Lewiston Jr.

A Arianna Greene Oxford Hills Sr.

A Avery Lutrzykowski St. Dom’s So.

M Kristina Cornelio St. Dom’s So.

A Emma Theriault St. Dom’s So.

D Hannah Trottier-Braun St. Dom’s Jr.

A Shaima Naji Lewiston Sr.

A Haley Frohlich Edward Little Sr.

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